Published: 08th March 2022
#ThinkEdu2022: Hinduism was not merely about tolerance but of acceptance: Shashi Tharoor
Dr Tharoor said that there was something wrong with the system that does not allow qualified students to pursue medical education in India
At a time when the Hijab controversy refuses to die down in the country, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that Hinduism was not merely about tolerance but of acceptance. He was speaking at the 10th ThinkEdu Conclave, organised by The New Indian Express, on March 8.
Talking on the topic 'Hinduism or Hindutva: Education and the Civilisational Debate' with Senior Journalist Kaveree Bamzai, Tharoor drew from his own experiences of growing up in a devout Hindu family that never obliged him to join in their beliefs, his pan-Indian upbringing and his reading of Swami Vivekananda to emphasise the Hindu way of 'finding one's own truth.'
"It gave me terrific insights into accepting each other's faith as valid in its own way and not judging anyone for following their own paths," he said. Tharoor was said to be the youngest to deliver the Vivekananda Memorial lecture at the Delhi University when he was 19.
Also delving into the topic of shortage of medical seats in the country, with 90% of students who have cleared NEET left without medical seats, he said that there was something wrong with the system that does not allow qualified students to pursue education in India. "I don't blame one particular class of people or a set of politicians for this issue but it is our collective responsibility to fix it or else our students will continue to spend their parents' hard-earned money to study in other countries," Tharoor said.
He added that the overregulation in the system also does not incentivise private colleges to add seats. Even countries like Bangladesh, that is as densely populated as India, has more seats. "Having worked in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, I did raise this issue but I was told to mind my own business because medical seats come under the Health Ministry and not HRD," he said.
While earlier in the day Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu had urged states to stick to the 'No opposition, no imposition' motto, as far as Indian languages are concerned, Tharoor said that once opposition is outlawed, it might pave the way for imposition. He also took a stand against revision of History textbooks with the motive of serving 'petty political purposes'.
Leaving with a message to parents in the country, Tharoor said, "Don't get your children to fulfil your dreams for you. Let them follow their passion."
ThinkEdu 2022 is the grand tenth rendition of what has consistently been India's biggest education conclave for a decade now. March 8 and 9 will see some stalwarts of India's academic, economic and political ecosystems bring ideas, ideologies and reflections on the past, present and future of India's education system. The sessions will be viewed by a live audience, in addition to the 2,750 registered users on the conclave's digital space. Over the last nine years, the conclave has seen some true stalwart thinkers such as former presidents Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Pranab Mukherjee, MPs Jairam Ramesh, Smriti Irani, former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, NITI Aayog's CEO, Amitabh Kant and spiritual guide Sadhguru.